The Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

1 Timothy 3:12-13

Qualifications for Deacons

We finally arrive at the end of the list of qualifications for these two offices, the only biblical offices of a local church.  We may speak of ministers of this or that and a host of committees, all of which is well and good as a church must organize herself for ministry.  But we must always bear in mind that these are the only two sanctioned by Scripture. And though their tasks may be shared, they must never be assumed by other church-created positions, boards, or committees; for in so doing, the original and apostolically-mandated institutions of church government are effectively supplanted, as has happened numerous times throughout church history.

Like the bishop, the deacon must have but one wife (if he has a wife) and be faithful unto her.  If they have children in the home, he must show that he can manage those children, training them in the discipline and instruction of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4).  The household is a micro-church in which every husband and father is a pastor.  If his character or nature is such that he cannot command respect and obedience there, he will not do so in the larger household of God. 

In verse thirteen, Paul pronounces a blessing upon such service.  These “gain a good standing for themselves.”  Certainly this does not apply to earning any reward in heaven but must pertain to the local church itself, not that we serve for the praise of others but that service is its own reward as others benefit from and bless us for our ministry unto them.  That deacons would also gain “great confidence in the faith” only stands to reason as the more we serve and walk in the paths of our Lord and Savior, the more we imitate him and draw closer to him.  In short, the blessing of serving in these two offices is the service itself as those who serve do so in the hire of the Good Shepherd whose pay includes eternal benefits.

So it is indeed a noble task to which a man aspires if he so desires either of these offices.  But let him exercise caution and examine himself in the most meticulous way.  Yes, there is great reward but also great responsibility.  Let him search his heart well and seek out any vain and base motivations.  Does he seek after glory, the approval of men, the compliments of old ladies, or worse—the admiration and sighs of young ladies?  If so, he is in the devil’s hire, not the Lord’s.  And his ministry, though it swell to a kingdom, will one day come crashing down.  Surely, no one is worthy.  But if you come, come with fear and trembling, and know that you will be standing on holy ground.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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